AT&T CENTER – With Tony Parker out (soreness in left Achilles) and Danny Green and Tiago Splitter receiving ‘Did Not Plays’ for rest purposes, the San Antonio Spurs were led by a player who was just traded for at the NBA trade deadline in late February, Austin Daye. Led by Daye’s 22 points on 6-of-10 made 3-pointers, the Spurs defeated former Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown and the 76ers 113-91. Along with Daye being the story of the night, the Spurs also got a balanced scoring attack, as four players scored in double figures, and the defense clamped down on the 76ers. Here were some key points in the Spurs’ 14th win in a row.
The Austin Daye Experience
“He is a skilled guy,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich of Daye after the game. “Obviously he can shoot it, but he is also a good passer. He knows how to play the game and it was good to be able to get him some time tonight.”
Daye gave the Spurs a package worth of productive play on both sides of the ball, as he finished with 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting, grabbed six rebounds, and had one assist, two steals, and two blocks in 28:34 minutes. Whether it was throwing bullet passes to Jeff Ayres, providing fake behind-the-back passes, knocking down open 3-pointers, or just stealing passes in midair, Daye showed what he could do when given a chance with decent minutes.
“I was really comfortable,” said Daye after the game. “I was just trying to be a professional and stay on my game to be ready whenever my number was called. It was called here pretty early.”
Of Daye’s eight rebounding chances, he grabbed six of them. He showed he was a part of the offense for stretches as he had the 3rd most touches on the team (64) and threw the 3rd most passes (50). Daye also reaped the benefits of his team’s passing as 10 of his 13 shots were uncontested, where he shot 60% on those attempts. Coach Brown said it was the Spurs’ system that allowed Daye to thrive.
“It surprises me that he looked as comfortable as he did catching and shooting the shot. He’s lucky – and I’ve seen this over so many years – people can come into that system and shine. Their system creates opportunities for everybody, and he took advantage of those. The attention you have to give others and the movement that they have in their structure allowed him to get freed up a lot. He reaped the benefit of playing in that system. I think the system created that opportunity, and to his full credit, he delivered after that.”
Take a look at Daye’s shot chart on the night.
Check out this no-look pass from Daye.
The machine rolls on
After scoring less than 100 points in their previous two games, the Spurs found their flow on offense again by scoring 113 points, shooting 55.7% from the field, and 48.1% from three. The Spurs also collected 31 assists on 44 made baskets, including nine of those assists coming off secondary passes. The ball movement passed the eye test as nearly half of the Spurs’ shots were uncontested. The Spurs shot 44 contested shots and 40 uncontested looks, while shooting above 50% on either type of shot. The only main flaw and why the 76ers were able to stay under 20 points for a majority of the night was due to the Spurs’ 17 turnovers.
Even in missing Parker, Green, and Splitter, the Spurs had seven players touch the ball 40 or more times, and six threw 30 or more passes. Duncan scored 19 points, Kawhi Leonard scored 15 points, Patty Mills scored 15 points on 3-of-6 shooting from three, and Cory Joseph scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and threw five assists. Joseph was the Spurs’ leading rebounder on the night.
“In my opinion, that’s how you play the game,” said Brown of the Spurs after the game. “So what you see is a system that is born out of many, many years of corporate knowledge where the winks and the blinks and wrinkles and the subtle nuances (allow them to) understand each other’s tendencies, and the offense shines.”
“It’s not just a byproduct of good players or a great coach,” continued Brown on the Spurs. “It’s a decade worth of corporate knowledge. That’s what you aspire to get to.”
“It felt like they were running 100 miles per hour out there,” said 76ers forward Thaddeus Young after the game. “They were moving and passing and cutting, but that is a sign of a team who has been together for a few years and had been a championship contending team each and every year.”
Parker, Green, Splitter rest, are ok
Before the game, the Spurs announced Parker would sit out of the game due to soreness in his left Achilles. During the game, both Green and Splitter were in warm-ups, but never played in the game. After the game, Popovich said it was to give the three players some needed rest.
“I don’t want to just worry about Tim (Duncan), Tony (Parker), and Manu (Ginobii),” said Popovich after the game. “Those guys have been playing a lot of minutes,” as he referred to Green and Splitter.
A look into the 14-game winning streak
During their 14-game winning streak, the Spurs are beating teams by an average of 15.7 points per game. The Spurs are scoring 111.6 points, shooting 49.1% from the field, 43.3% from three, collecting 28.8 assists, and only turning the ball over 14.0 times per game. Defensively, they’re holding teams to 95.9 points per game during the streak.
The Spurs are ranked first in Offensive Rating with 112.2 points per 100 possessions and ranked second in Defensive Rating by holding teams to 97.5 points per 100 possessions during the streak.
Where San Antonio Stands
- Regular Season: 54-16 (Lead the NBA)
- Home Record: 27-8 (Lead the NBA)
- Vs. Opponents with –.500 records: 32-2 (Lead the NBA)
- Vs. The Eastern Conference: 23-6
- Post All-Star Break Record: 16-1 (Lead the NBA)
- Since Kawhi Leonard returned from injury: 14-0
- The Spurs are 12-0 in the month of March.
(All Stats and Player Tracking data via NBA.com)